Monday, March 30, 2009

Mushroom and Asparagus Tarts

This month's Bon Appetit was really fabulous. I made a vow to work more with puff pasty, and voila! They had the most delicious looking recipe. I made a few tweaks based on what I had in the fridge, but it was a really tasty spring treat.

Mushroom and Asparagus Tarts

2 sheets frozen puff pasty, thawed
1/4 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 leek, rinsed and sliced
12 ounces baby portabello mushrooms
Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound asparagus spears, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
Zest from 1 lemon
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

Roll out pastry sheets and cut into 6 squares each and place on a baking sheet. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and leeks and saute 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and salt and pepper and cook additional 3 to 5 minutes. Place mushroom mixture in a bowl and refrigerate about 15 minutes. Toss in asparagus spears, lemon and cheese.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place mushroom asparagus mixture on each pastry square, leaving a 1/2 inch border on each. Bake tarts 20 to 22 minutes, rotating halfway through cooking time.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Proscuitto Goat Cheese Pizza

The creaminess of the goat cheese is the perfect counter to the saltiness of the prosciutto on this pizza. I added the sun dried tomatoes for the benefit of my roommate Rachel who loves them, but they really elevated this pizza. Finally, I had a leek in my fridge, and its gentle, garlicky flavor was just the subtle hint this pizza needed.

Prosciutto Goat Cheese Pizza

1 package pizza dough

1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup sliced leeks
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces fresh spinach leaves
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil
1/3 pound prosciutto, sliced and lightly pan fried
3 ounces chevre, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste

Roll out pizza dough and spread tomato sauce over it. Heat a small skillet on medium heat and melt butter. Saute leeks, garlic and spinach for 2 or 3 minutes. Spread over pizza. top with sun dried tomatoes, prosciutto and chevre and season with salt and pepper. Cook in a 425 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until crust is golden.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

SXSW Food & Wine Blogger Bash

This week Austin is aflutter with music fans for South by Southwest. Before all the music fun began, however, the interactive portion of the festival occured. I was lucky enough to get on the invite list for the Food & Wine Blogger Bash hosted by Austin 360 and Go Texan at Whole Foods Market.

There was a fun selection of Texas wines and beers. I try to support local wineries and breweries so I'd tried most of them. I was pleasantly surprised by a viognier from McPherson vineyards in Lubbock, TX. It was light and sweet, without being TOO sweet. i'll definitely be picking up a bottle.

The best part was getting to see all of my local food blogger pals and meeting a few new ones! Here's me and Rachel from The Friendly Kitchen. Also, my friend and coworker Emily recently started a blog, Cooking Inside the Lines, and got to meet my blogger buddies as well. There's always great food and conversation to be had when we all get together- certainly looking forward to our next event!

Here's Emily enjoying Herb Stuffed Flounder, which chef Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due demonstrated for us. We were also lucky enough to see a demo from Tyson Cole of Uchi.

Be sure to check out Addie Broyles' recap of the event which has a great 2 minute video as well.
We got a pretty nifty swag bag as we left the event. My favorite thing from the bag has to be these Whole Foods Cinnamon Coated Pecans. I swear these things are addictive! Sweet and salty- half the can is gone now :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Feasting at Fino

Local Austin foodies were invited to visit Fino for our second Blogger Happy Hour (first was at Uchi). Although the event was a little early for my taste (5 p.m. is hard to do on a work day) it had a great turn out. I was immediately greated with a cocktail, which perked me right up.

Had a great conversation with Beth of Texas Locavore and Lissa of This is Life in Austin with the head chef, Emmett Fox. He was really friendly and also knowledgeable about the source of all his ingredients, which is always refreshing.

Speaking of refreshing, I wanted to share a fantastic cocktail we enjoyed. My favorite by far was the Bee Sting which included 42 Below Honey Vodka, Black Pepper Syrup, Lemon-Orange Juice, and a Sauza Blanco Tequila Rinsed Glass. I loved the black pepper in the drink, which was a new experience for me and overall just really surprising.

Out of the food we tried, my favorite hands-down was the Fried Goat Cheese with Onion Jam & Honey. Unfortunately I scarfed it down before taking a picture, but I'm sure you can imagine the deliciousness for yourself :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Chinese Feast with Friends

There's nothing I love more than having friends over for a dinner. So what started out as a gentle dinner party quickly turned into quite the group- and I loved it! It was definitely an interesting mix of people, which led to a night of good food and good conversation.

Crab Wontons
1 gallon vegetable oil
24 wonton wrappers

Flour for dusting

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

8 ounces flaked crab meat

1/2 red
bell pepper, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oi
l in a large pot until it's 350 degrees. Lay wonton wrappers out on wax paper dusted with flour. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl. Place a tablespoon of mixture on each skin. Brush water around the edges of the wonton skins and then press together to seal. Cook wontons in batches about 2 minutes, making sure to turn so each side cooks evenly. Place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve with sweet chili sauce.

Fried Rice

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 red onion, minced

1 red bell pepper, halved, seeded and minced

1 green pepper, halved, seeded and minced

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 cup peas

3 cup c
ooked broccoli florets
5 cups cooked rice, cold

4 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup soy sauce, plus more as needed

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok on medium high heat. Saute garlic and onion for 2 minutes. Add in peppers and carrots and cook another 2 or 3 minutes. Add peas and broccoli and cook another minute. Stir in rice and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Make a well in the middle of the skillet and pour in egg, letting cook for 2 minutes. Stir together and add soy sauce. Enjoy!

Chili Shrimp

2 pounds jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup vegetable oil, divided

1 tablespoon hot chili paste

1 tablespoon szechuan chili sauce

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Place shrimp in a large bowl. Combine 1/4 cup oil and remaining ingredients and toss with shrimp. Let marinate in the fridge for 2 hours. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat and warm remaining 1/4 cup oil. Saute shrimp about 4 minutes until curling. Serve immediately.

Ginger Beef

3 pounds top sirloin, cut into 1 inch strips

2 inches ginger, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup vegetable oil, divided

1/4 cup soy sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine beef, ginger, garlic, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, soy sauce and salt and pepper. Marinate for at least 2 hours. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat with remaining oil. Cook about 4 minutes until browned on each side.

Three Meat Grilled Cheese

The picture explains it all. This was one of those meals that resulted from hunger and random ingredients in the fridge which resulted in all of us eating half of it before remembering to take a picture. One word: yum.

Three Meat Grilled Cheese

8 slices bread

1 pound boneless chicken breast, grilled and cut into strips

1/2 pound deli ham

8 slices bacon

8 slices swiss cheese

1/2 cup fig jam

Preheat a skillet on medium heat. Lay out 4 slices bread. Place chicken strips, 1 slice ham, 2 slices bacon and 2 slices cheese. Spread a generous layer of fig jam on the extra slice of bread. Grill about 4 minutes per side. Serve with oven fries or other side of your choice.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chipotle Salmon Burgers

By now you know I love a good burger, and this is my favorite salmon burger recipe. I tried this recipe from Cooking Light last year and have made a few tweaks. I've stayed surprisingly close to this recipe and highly recommend it!

Chipotle Salmon Burgers

1/4 cup red onion
2 garlic cloves
3 chipotles in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 pounds salmon
1 lime, zested and juiced
1/3 cup cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
6 Kaiser rolls
1 large avocado, cut into slices (optional)

Combine onion and garlic in a food processor. Add chipotles and oil and pulse. Add salmon, lime, cilatnro and salt and pepper. Next shape in 6 patties. Cook on a large skillet over medium heat about 6 minutes on each side. Serve on rolls with avocado and Mango Mayonnaise (see below)

Mango Mayonnaise

1/2 cup light mayo
1 mango, peeled, pitted and diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Combine all ingredients and serve on salmon burgers.

I served with roasted squash, which consists on 3 summer squash, sliced on the diagonal, roasted with salt and pepper, olive oil, crushed red pepper and garlic. Cook about 15 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Top with chopped cilantro.

Pepperoni Chicken Pasta

On my last trip to Houston to visit my family, we stopped at Zio's, an Italian restaurant we used to eat at a lot when I was a kid. I had my favorite dish there, pepperoni chicken, which I decided to recreate.

We had a gentle dinner party with our friends Holly and Chad, which always turns into a great night. Since Chad and Luke are big eaters, the proportions on these recipes are pretty large. Also, I got to try out the sassy new serving dishes I got shoppi
ng that day!

Pepperoni Chicken

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces sliced button mushrooms
1 cup sliced green olives
1 8 ounce package pepperoni slices
1 (28 ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes
2 poun
ds penne pasta, cooked al dente
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat a grill pan on medium heat and cook chicken until juices run clear, about 7 minutes on each side (depending on thickness). Remove from heat and rest 10 minutes, then slice into strips.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Heat oil then add onions and garlic and saute 3 minutes. Add in mushrooms and olives and cook another 3 minutes. Stir in pepperoni slices and tomatoes and continue cooking 10 minutes. Add in pasta, chicken and salt and pepper and toss. Serve with freshly grated parmesan as desired.

Slow Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

2 pounds tomatoes, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoons sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 baguette, cut into thin slices

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine first 6 ingredients on a large baking sheet. Roast for an hour. Remove and turn on broiler to 400 degrees. Top tomato m
ixture on baguette slices then broil for 2-3 minutes, until bread is toasted. Serve.

Italian Artichoke Salad

6 ounces spinach leaves
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 cup green olives
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Parmesan cheese, grated

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss- enjoy!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sausage and Veggie Rice Toss

I was browsing through Everyday with Rachael Ray and saw a fun recipe for Sausage and Zucchini Rice on my way out of work and decided to try my hand at it. I mixed things up a bit but this was a really satisfying meal.

Sausage and Veggie Rice Toss

1 pound spicy Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, diced
1 cup corn kernels
2 zucchini, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces
1 can diced tomatoes, drained

1 cup smoked gouda
3 cups prepared rice

Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Cook sausage about 7 to 8 minutes, breaking up as it cooks. Remove from heat and set aside. Cook garlic and onion for about 3 minutes. Add corn and zucchini and cook another 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in shredded gouda, rice and sausage and cook one minute. Serve.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Chicken, Artichoke and Pesto Pizza

I love to chop things by hand, but I also love getting to pull out my food processor for some tasty homemade pesto, which I substituted for sauce on the pizza.

Chicken, Artichoke and Pesto Pizza

1 refrigerated thin pizza crust
1/3 cup oregano pesto (recipe below)
2 cup cooked chicken breast
2 cups artichoke hearts, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup pitted olives

2 cups mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll pizza dough out on a large baking sheet and spread pesto over crust (add extra oil as needed). Top with remaining ingredients and bake 15 to 20 minutes until cheese has melted and crust is browning. Serve!

Oregano Pesto

1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
2 cloves roasted garlic
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper ot taste
3/4 cup fresh oregano
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine pine nuts and garlic in the food processor. Add parmesan and salt and pepper and pulse again. Mix in oregano and spinach leaves. With processor on, stream in olive oil.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pan Seared Grouper and Stuffed Peppers

How come stuffing something seems to automatically make it taste better? Maybe because it almost guarantees a cheesy surprise, or because it shows that you put in a bit more effort than usual to stuff each individual item. I made this meal after driving home from Houston last weekend, so I had 3 hours to concoct my stuffed pepper recipe. The Spanish flavors and cheese made it filling and full of flavor.

Pan Seared Grouper

1 1/2 pounds grouper fillets (or other white fish)
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, halved, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat a cast iron skillet on medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. Rub grouper fillets with Creole seasoning and oil. Cook around 3 minutes on each side and remove from heat. Combine remaining ingredients and top grouper.

Stuffed Peppers

5 bell peppers, stems removed and seeded
2 cups prepared rice
1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic
1/2 red onion, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can green chiles
1 cup colby jack cheese, plus additional for s
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, plus additional for sprinkling

Heat oil in a large skillet. Saute garlic and onion about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and chiles and simmer about 10 minutes. Stir in rice, cheese and cilantro. Stuff each pepper and then sprinkle with rexra cheese and cilantro. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.